The smartphone revolution is going to go down as an unprecedented technological feat in history books. The real impact of this revolution is indicated by an exponential increase in the number of apps that consumers are using in their smartphones today. From online shopping to payment of bills to acquiring new skill-sets or even to conduct online business; mobile apps are increasingly becoming indispensable tools for us.
Currently the Apple App store has close to 2 million apps, while Android claims over 2.2 millions in its app market. According to a forecast by Statista, the total number of mobile app downloads in 2017 are 197 billion. It is expected to increase even more in the future.
What does this trend tell us?
It is clear that the app industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world and moreover it has huge potential to accommodate more and more businesses in the future. But are all these apps experience a similar fate? No! This is essentially the moot issue of our discussion in this article. In any case, we are going to see more interactive and engaging apps coming up on the market in order to make our lives easier.
This brings us to the fact that app store optimization holds an enormous value for an app to become visible and popular. With this ever growing ocean of mobile apps; getting discovered is one of the biggest issues being faced by mobile app publishers today.
What exactly is App Store Optimization (ASO)?
Simply put, ASO is the process of optimizing mobile apps, which makes it rank higher in the app store’s search results. Which means the higher an app ranks in its store’s search results; the more visible it is to the potential customers. So the main aim of ASO is to generate quality traffic, increase conversion rate and acquire a loyal customer base.
This is done using extensive keyword research, performance analytics and creative processes. It also requires an in-depth understanding of the target customer base and the keywords they are using. All of these factors make ASO a secret weapon and improving it essentially means improving an app’s ranking and its overall success. 62% of all e-commerce traffic now comes from mobile phones and nearly 85% of this traffic is coming from apps, due to convenience, speed and other extra-features.
How app store optimization is going to improve your app’s visibility
Well before starting the app store optimization process, you need to conduct a thorough analysis of customer requirements and choices. You need to be clear in the first place as to what their reasons are for downloading and using your app, what your competitive advantage is, and above all how easily you could compete against similar apps. That said, your ASO strategy should begin by putting yourself in your customers’ shoes.
Here are some of the important ASO techniques for you to increase visibility and conversion:
- Choose a creative name
The name of your app is going to influence your app store optimization process in a big way. It should be as relevant as it is catchy because app store search is the most preferred way with which people find new apps and games to download. So in order to choose an impressive name, you need to consider the fact that in case of mobile devices users can only see the first 25 characters of your name. Another thing you need to focus on is the uniqueness of your apps name. Do a quick search and if similar names return, you need to reconsider a new one. Finally, the chosen name should be memorable because people will tend to remember it for long.
- Maximize relevant keywords
When it comes to finding your app’s name, keywords are going to play a vital role. Proper and relevant keywords have a huge impact on your app’s ranking and visibility. You need to take a special care while selecting your keywords. There are two important factors that you need to consider: traffic and ranking difficulty. Traffic indicates how popular a keyword is in terms of search volume. Ranking difficulty, on the other hand, indicates how easy or difficult it will be to rank any given keyword, or in other words, intensity of the competition. So the strategy that will work over here is to choose an ideal combination; that is, high traffic keyword with little competition.
- Give your app a compelling description
Due to the availability of an enormous number of apps, customers do not have enough time to read extensively about every app. So your app’s description should be compelling enough to attract their attention. It should be viewed as call to action for your potential customers. The main idea is to lay out its unique benefits so that the reader will be compelled to download it. Focus bulk of your energy on first three lines in order to immediately grab readers’ attention.
- Create a unique and attractive icon
Among the endless list of apps, the aesthetic appeal of your visual icon will be the first impression that your app will have on people. Make it an important part of your ASO. You need to spend a little time and money while designing you app icon because Apple App store and Google Play have different standards for the ideal size, geometry and color scheme of app icons. It should also be clear enough to immediately convey what your app does.
- Include Screenshots and videos
Screenshots and videos have a strong impact towards driving downloads as far as apps are concerned. Your app’s images bring its description to life that makes your potential customers visualize using your app. Make sure that these screenshots convey benefits and provide good user experience. Take screenshots of the most exciting screens of your App that best display its use and features. Furthermore, adding videos will make your app more appealing and consequently drive even more downloads.
Promotional strategies to be utilized in your app optimization
After you have successfully launched your app and stored at a proper category location in the app store, your job is not finished as yet. In fact, the main task of promoting your app starts now. It’s time to fully go public now and for that you need to utilize the following important promotional strategies:
- Optimize Your Social Media Channels
The importance and power of social media is growing with each passing day and virtually every company or startup is using it to promote their business. So why should you lag behind in promoting your new app. In fact you need to tap its potential to the fullest by updating all of your social media channels with banners that promote your app. You need to include links to your app’s promo site in your bio. It would be even better if you include call to action (CTA) strategies, which are meant for encouraging people to download things – in this case your app. The most important benefit of using this promotional strategy is, your app becomes visible even before users open their app stores. So if they are already convinced about your app on social media, they will directly download from app stores.
- Email Marketing
The value of email marketing will never cease to exist. Be it business to business communication or business to client communication, email marketing is still the most preferred channel of communication. So you need to harness this channel by sending emails to your existing or new customers during pre and post launch of your app. But yes, you have to build up an excitement around your app and if you can create a positive hype, it would be better. Make it clear that by downloading your app, the customers are benefiting in some ways or the other. Here also you can use CTAs to increase conversions.
- Incentivize Your App Downloads
Simply asking people to download your app is not going to fetch you enough. Although, counting benefits about your app may ignite their interest, but are they motivated enough to download it? Not until you are getting them incentives for a download. Be it an improved shopping experience or an addictive gaming experience, incentives are always liked by consumers. You can incentivize your customers by giving them rewards and discounts for shopping through your app.
Sometimes, users are not on their smartphones, let’s assume they are sitting on a desktop and happen to come across your app. Even then you can encourage them to download your app. You can help them text themselves a link to your app with the help of LinkTexting. LinkTexting is a text-to-download service for your users to text themselves a download link for your mobile app. Here you can also offer in-app coupons that can be redeemed once they download your app. This strategy will compel them to keep coming back for more.
- Offer an Exclusive Interview
An effective promotion that has never been failed and will remain effective in future also is giving an interview to journalists. Entice them an exclusive about the release of your new app. The attractive part of it is everybody loves to hear the story behind a new thing coming in the market. So think about an emotive story that can create a human interest and most importantly, do not forget to tell how your app is going to help people or change the way they do something. Once you have come up with a creative story, start pitching it to the press.
- Encourage ratings and feedback
Finally, a consistent flow of positive reviews serves the validation of your app’s quality, which is also one of the highest determinants of your app’s ranking. The apps that have highest rating counts are also the ones that keep their customers engaged. But most importantly, proactively soliciting feedbacks from your users will help better updating and shaping future product roadmap.
App store optimization is a potent strategy that can catapult your app’s popularity past your competitors’. It is relatively a newer strategy as well as a continuously evolving one. If you want your app to be visible among millions of other apps, you need to think out of the box and use even more creative strategies. A successful ASO strategy requires a keen eye, a penchant for analytics, and regular check-ins.
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